As Apple Stock Gets Sliced, It's Not Time for Investors to Split

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- One of the most highly anticipated events on the market finally arrives.

When the market opens this morning, shares of Apple (AAPL)AAPL, which closed Friday at $645.57, will begin trading at $92.22 as a result of the company's 7-for-1 stock split, announced in April.

Since the announcement, Apple's stock has been on an incredible run, soaring 24% and netting new 52-week highs seemingly in every session. The shares are up 16% year to date. But since reaching its 52-week low of $388.87 last June, Apple stock has surged more than 66%.

In an appearance on CNBC on Friday, Mark Newton, chief technical analyst at Greywolf Execution Partners, said that Apple's stock has gotten to a "nosebleed level." He added, "I don't think the stock can make much progress before it pulls back." Investors want to know how much further the shares can run.


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Depending on sentiment, the shares will begin trading at their split-adjusted price above or below $92.22. Apple management, and in particular CEO Tim Cook, has been very clear about wanting the stock to become more accessible to a larger number of investors. Newton is likely underestimating the power of psychology.

A lower share may entice more buying among would-be investors who prefer a larger number of shares. And if those would-be investors were unwilling to shell out the cash for stock trading at $645, Apple at $92 will appear more affordable. It's not just about the psychological effect, however. There's a precedent here as well.

One of the most talked-about regrets in the market over the past decade has been related to Apple, and how investors had missed its incredible run. Many forget that Apple's last stock split was a 2-for-1 on Feb. 18, 2005. That day, Apple traded at a split-adjusted price of $41.49 per share.

Investors who bought just one share at $41.49 had a gain of more than 1,400% as of Friday's close of $645.57. Two years after the split, Apple entered a new product category with its release of the original iPhone. Three years later, Apple broke into another category with the iPad.

These products, among others, have made Apple a tech juggernaut that's producing earnings of more than $10 billion on sales of $46 billion per quarter.

Ahead of last week's Worldwide Developer's Conference, Apple's senior vice president Eddy Cue insisted that the company has the best product lineup he's seen in 25 years. It is widely assumed that an iPhone 6 is on its way. There are also expectations for an iWatch and Apple's own branded TV.

According to Bloomberg, wearable tech industry has gross margins ranging from 50% to 60%. And assuming that Apple can achieve 10% to 15% market share in wearables, which is conservative, this can immediately become a $20 billion revenue stream. That's potentially more than $8 billion in potential gross profit for Apple.

In other words, Apple is in a far better position today than it was at the time of its last split. And we haven't even mentioned the potential effect of the $3 billion deal for Beats Electronics, the $30 billion in additional buybacks or the increase in the quarterly dividend to $3.29 per share.

Apple expects to return more than $130 billion to shareholders by end of 2015. And investors who missed out on the last run from 2005 would be foolish to split now.

At the time of publication, the writer was long AAPL.


This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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